After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

The tango embrace varies from person to person, and sometimes from moment to moment, depending on the dancers, space available, personal choice, comfort, and occasionally, luck.

I love to sit and watch the variety dance by. Isn't tango great that there isn't just ONE way to do it?

As they might say on MySpace, which hand hold are you?
Check it out as you dance pass the mirrors in La Ideal.

Are you the low elbow Vertical?:

The youthful hand-on-a-plate?:

The Thumbster?:

The Pianist?:

The Suave?:

The low-rider?:

The Angular Horizontal?:

The Intense?:

The Hooray!

The Casual?:

The Swoopy Show Grip?:

The insecure hands-in-motion?:

The mid-range?:

The deer-in-the-headlights?:

The Prom Cuddle?:

The Elegant Gavito?:


Anonymous said...

What a great post, Cherie! I guess there are almost as many embrace styles are there are dancers!

Tanguillo said...

Wow, very good collection of embraces you have done. I thin you named all, or almost all.
Some of the embraces are related to various styles or ways of dancing. I will a good game to try to match them :)

tangocherie said...

A very important hand-hold is lacking however: The Deathgrip. If anyone could send me a photo of one, I'd be glad to add it to the collection.

NYC Tango Pilgrim said...


How come I know half of the people i n your collection? :-)

Psyche said...

Us girls have variations too. When I can, I tend to slip my first finger out sideways, so that his thumb is between my first and second fingers rather than between my thumb and first fingers. It makes the angle of my wrist more comfortable, and feels kinda... snuggly.

Some guys hate it, though. I once danced with a guy who firmly took hold of my finger and put it back with the others. I didn't dance with him again. But I did start to be watchful for signs that the person I'm dancing with might not like my wayward finger! It's only fair. A grip that feels 'wrong' can be surprisingly distracting. I personally hate to have my hand held high over my head. I also don't like to have it held to his chest unless I know him well and have the right kind of relationship with him. Otherwise it feels proprietry and over-intimate to me.

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Cherie,

That was a truly fascinating (and hilarious!) pictorial guide to tango hand grips! I can't wait to see a guide to the follower's left hand embrace.

one2tango said...

Cherie, this is brilliant! AND with pictures! not easy to put together, I imagine;)
I am really glad you brought this up, we all concentrate on the embrace so much as it is seemingly the more intimate contact with our partner, but just holding hands is such a primary thing, and soooo intimate, when you think of it..
I cannot dance with men who don´t hold my hand properly, it spoils the connection for me.
I find a gentle yet firm grip is the best, in general, but I kind of tend to really fall for the hand-on-a-plate type... it feels so gentlemanly:) but it is not very common outside of BsAs:(
One of these days..! :)

Tina said...

The hand-on-a-plate one is what I affectionately call "Canning style".


tangocherie said...

Tina, you're being sarcastic, right?

Sorry One2, I just hate the hand-on-a-plate! It looks affected, but also the line of the woman's arm is not pretty this way, it's all jagged and irregular. But it just goes to show you, different strokes.
(I also hate cliches, but what can you do?)

Tina said...

I actually don't really like the hand-on-a-plate too much myself either, though there are a few people I still love to dance with even though they do that. I'm willing to make concessions ;-)

The thing about the hand-on-a-plate is that it just doesn't feel as strong. I like me a strong man.

I call it "Canning style" because Canning is the only place I've seen it. :-)

tangosource said...

I love how everyday dancers become celebs to other dancers like this...

You've also left out one of my favorite emergency embraces learned from Cacho: The "don't put your weight on me"
This is where the tips of the follow's fingers are pressed against my upper palm.

tangocherie said...

Hey people, please send me photos of your favorites! (And don't forget to vote in the poll.)

I also would like a pic of
The Overhead, if anyone has one to share.

If worse comes to worse, Ruben and I will pose using the missing holds. Which reminds me, TangoSource, I'm not sure what you mean about the celebrity of everyday dancers due to hand holds??

I only took two of these photos, and the dancers' identities aren't visible; the others I found on the web. I don't want to make anyone infamous who doesn't want to be! :)

one2tango said...

Hmmm... let me explain:) I love the hand-on-a-plate hold, because the man´s palm gently supports the woman´s hand, and it makes it absolutely impossible for the man to lead with his left hand - everything must come from the embrace; and when it is slightly tilted, the line of the arm can look pretty (methinks...?:) though I´ve never watched myself in the mirror.
Anyhow, I´ve experienced it in other places, not just Canning, but I agree, Tina, it is very ´Canning style´.
But, yes, à chacun son goût:)

Maraya said...

I think my favorite is the 'non-hold'. She lovingly places her hand on his heart and he - so casually - has his in his pocket. What a perfect Latino expression of the stereotype of the genders.


Limerick Tango said...

What about "Daddy's little girl", where she holds onto his upright thumb?